When two top stories seem equally bad
We're at a loss as to which story ought to go at the top of today's rundown, but they both involve the rallies of American presidential candidates, so we'll just give them to you at once and let you decide: Story #1 involves the unfortunate optics of the Orlando shooter's father attending a Hillary Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida, while Story #2 involves a joke from Donald Trump that “Second amendment people” might deal with the possibility of Clinton picking Supreme Court justices, during a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. The latter story inspired headlines that range from more measured (Politico's "Trump: '2nd Amendment' may be only way to block Clinton's judicial picks") to considerably more alarmist (The Huffington Post's "Trump Suggests Shooting Clinton, Her Supreme Court Picks, Or Both" and The Guardian's "Trump hints at assassination of Hillary Clinton by gun rights supporters").
Aiyaiyai. There's a lot to unpack there.
Okay, so, let's backtrack for now to Clinton's rally. "2016 is so odd. The Dad of the Orlando shooter (who was a Hillary fan) gets a prime seating spot at a Hillary rally," National Review's Charles Cooke tweets in bewilderment. "Such a weird story. He didn't just go...they gave him a prime seat behind the podium," harmonizes Republican strategist Rory Cooper. "Have you heard the one about the people who attend Trump rallies being the worst of the worst?" muses CBS Philly's Rich Zeoli. "Could you imagine the media meltdown if Dylan Roof's dad showed up in club seating at a Trump rally?" pointedly asks John Cardillo on 880 The Biz Radio. Even more to the point, one Twitter user observes, "Orlando shooters dad (who AFTER shooting said God will punish gays) endorses Hill.If ur #LGBT are u voting Hill?" Philip Crowther predicts, "This story could not be more strange. Expect Trump to use it a lot."
Except that, as aforementioned, Trump is too busy wrestling with his own latest PR snafu. Later today, Trump defended his choice of words as meaning that “The Second Amendment people have tremendous power because they are so united" and told Fox News "There can be no other interpretation. I mean, give me a break." Some seemed to agree. "Here’s video. Interpretation from journo in room is: '2a people' = NRA. Doing 'something' = lawyering up," shares Washington Examiner's Becket Adams. "OK, but how would Lawyering up stop HRC from picking judges," asks Raw Story's Brad Reed, to which Adams responds, "You’re asking me to breakdown Trump’s seemingly nonsensical understanding of law and rights?" Others were not buying it. "Media: THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO SPIN THIS," insists Rachel Sklar at TheLi.st. "Pretty sure Trump is taking your advice not to dial it back. Now suggesting assassination," American Banker's Rob Blackwell tweets at comedian Patton Oswalt. Meanwhile, Henry Brean playfully shrugs it off, "Who doesn't love a good assassination joke? Well, the Secret Service for one ..."
Here's a Vine of a dude seated right behind Trump who immediately recognized what he said was a problem.
So, uh, gymnastics anyone? The U.S. Women's team certainly flaunted their dominance today in Rio, where the world’s best gymnast Simone Biles led her crew to the gold medal with a margin of victory of "a whopping 8 points." NYT's Jeffrey Furticella summarizes, "In women's Olympic gymnastics, there's @usagym and then everyone else." Now that's squad goals.